Posts Tagged ‘A&M Records’

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Country music’s influence on rock ’n’ roll is nearly as old as rock itself, a dominant gene in rockabilly and vocal touchstone for seminal artists from Elvis to Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers. in 1968 the rise of a school of artists consciously bridging those genres, accelerating the pace that two of the sub-genre’s defining albums would overlap in conception even as the bands creating them buckled under internal strain.

The Byrds had enjoyed first mover advantage in recording “Sweetheart of the Rodeo”, spurred on by Gram Parsons, a 21-year-old singer-songwriter whose deep love for Southern country and R&B found a kindred spirit in bassist Chris Hillman and pragmatic support from lead guitarist Roger McGuinn. Country influences were already in the air, not only in originals and covers from the Beatles, the Lovin’ Spoonful, Buffalo Springfield and the Byrds themselves, but also in up and coming artists like Bobbie Gentry and Linda Ronstadt.

Before “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” hit stores in late August, Parsons had bolted from the band on the eve of South African dates and veered into a bromance with Keith Richards that injected the Rolling Stones with country influences while fanning Parsons’ own dreams of rock glory. After hanging out in London with Richards, Parsons returned to Los Angeles in early August weighing his next move.

The Flying Burrito Brothers’ original line up: Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Gram Parsons, Chris Ethridge and Chris Hillman. The recording line up had yet to add a drummer

Meanwhile, Chris Hillman had left the Byrds’ coop after increasing tensions with management. Despite an earlier falling out with Parsons, Hillman reconciled with the Florida-born, Georgia-raised musician. The erstwhile combatants once more bonded over music and even became roommates, writing the bulk of what would become the original material on the debut for the Flying Burrito Brothers. Chris Ethridge was recruited as bassist, freeing Hillman to play guitar and mandolin, and the duo tapped Sneaky Pete Kleinow on pedal steel guitar.

The chance to snag a new band with two Byrds quickly drew competing bids from Warner Bros. and A&M Records, with A&M winning the battle. In contrast to the sessions for Sweetheart, shepherded by a seasoned producer and crack session players, the Burritos entered the studio with a big advance, a lot of ideas, a fledgling co-producer who was no match for the strong-willed Parsons and Hillman, and no drummer. The Burritos would share producer credits with A&M’s Larry Marks and engineer Henry Lewy, reflecting a more chaotic studio environment that would find them going through a collection of drummers.

Gram Parsons had envisioned the Burritos as “his” band, but The Gilded Palace of Sin, released in early February of ’69, underscores the partnership between Parsons and Hillman, who co-wrote six of the album’s eight originals. The opening track, “Christine’s Tune,” finds them sharing lead vocals and driving acoustic rhythm guitars, with harmonies built on classic thirds that harken back to the Louvin Brothers, the Everlys and other high, lonesome harmony singers. An overly ripe bassline evidently designed to emphasize rock power loses its edge to muddiness, but Sneaky Pete’s pedal steel commands centre stage with an aggressive, fuzz-toned attack and his own unorthodox tunings.

A stop-motion animator and special effects craftsman, Kleinow provides a potent departure from the more traditional steel parts heard on Sweetheart, leaning here into the rock side of the sub-genre’s equation. Kleinow unleashes that power elsewhere on Gilded Palace while proving his skill with more traditional accents on the ballads, starting with “Sin City,” a country waltz that trades in the sin and salvation polarity central to Parsons’ vision for an amalgam of country, rhythm ’n’ blues and rock.

Its synthesis of country soundscape with urban modernism strikes an apocalyptic tone. “On the thirty-first floor, a gold-plated door won’t keep out the Lord’s burning rain,” the duo sings in a prophesy that warns “this old earthquake’s gonna leave me in the poor house.” They could be singing about L.A. or Las Vegas; heard today, it’s hard not to envision the gilded escalators in Trump Tower.

The R&B component in Parsons’ “cosmic” Southern synthesis leads him back to Memphis, source for Sweetheart’s countrified R&B cover (“You Don’t Miss Your Water”). this time yielding two superb ballads sharing lyrics from Dan Penn. “Do Right Woman,” written with Chips Moman, was a sensuous Aretha Franklin cut demanding equal sexual satisfaction from her man, a contract that survives its gender flip as another gliding country waltz. Instead of changing the mood or their compass bearings, the Burritos follow with the darker sexual torment of “Dark End of the Street,” a Penn collaboration with Spooner Oldham. Parsons dominates the vocals with an audible anguish over a locked battle between passion and guilt for two lovers “hiding in shadows where we don’t belong,” resigned to the inevitability of discovery and shame in a tableau of illicit love familiar in both country and soul tropes.

For two self-referential album tracks, Parsons wrote with Chris Ethridge. “Hot Burrito #1” is another soulful ballad that dispenses with any hint of sexual guilt to remind an ex-lover that “I’m the one who showed you how/To do the things you’re doing now” in frank sexual metaphors. With “Hot Burrito #2,” Ethridge grounds the track in a strutting bassline as Parsons rants about a lover’s quarrel with an eyebrow-raising opening “Yes, you loved me and you sold all my clothes.” If the lyrics verge on incoherence, the track itself is a lively standout.

Elsewhere, Parsons and Hillman nod to the tension between their music’s Southern roots and their countercultural instincts. On “My Uncle,” Hillman takes the lead on vocals and mandolin as a young American pondering the draft who’s “heading for the nearest northern border” against a fleet bluegrass backdrop. And on the closing “Hippie Boy,” Hillman reverses roles for a poker-faced, spoken word sermon as a redneck whose encounter with a hippie brings something like peace, love, understanding and the sage advice to “never carry more than you can eat.”

With the album completed, the Burritos recruited a third Byrd, drummer Michael Clarke, but chaotic behavior sabotaged supporting tour dates as they burned through the label’s advance, missing a crucial New York date. The Gilded Palace of Sin stalled on the Billboard chart, considerably worse than Sweetheart’s disappointing tally months earlier. The addition of Bernie Leadon would strengthen them musically, but Gram Parsons was already restless. He would leave “his” band after the Burritos completed a scattershot follow-up, Burrito Deluxe.

Thanks Sam Sutherland

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Kitchens of Distinction (sometimes shortened colloquially to KOD) are an English three-person alternative rock band formed in Tooting, South London, in 1986. They released four studio albums and a handful of singles and EPs before disbanding in 1996. In September 2012, Patrick Fitzgerald announced on the bands Facebook page of Stephen Hero that he and the other original KOD members Julian Swales and Dan Goodwin were working on new material as Kitchens of Distinction. The reunited trio released their fifth studio album, their first since 1994, in late September 2013.

Dan Goodwin (drums) met Julian Swales (guitar) at college in 1980, and Swales met Patrick Fitzgerald (vocals/bass guitar) at a party in 1985. The trio began rehearsing together that same year, taking their name from a company of the same name that specialised in home decor and kitchen and plumbing fixtures, after Swales spotted one of their advertisements on the side of a bus while riding his bike. The Kitchens’ first single, “The Last Gasp Death Shuffle” (which featured Swales on lead vocals and bass, as well as guitar) was recorded in just one day on an eight-track in a Kennington basement, and was released in December 1987 on the band’s own Gold Rush Records. It was named a ‘Single of the Week’ in NME, and led to the band signing with British indie label One Little Indian Records around this time, Fitzgerald – who was a medical doctor – put his career on hold to devote himself fully to the band.

Their first singles for One Little Indian Records , 1988’s “Prize” and 1989’s “The 3rd Time We Opened the Capsule”, made it onto the “NME Writers’ 100 Best Indie Singles Ever” list,

Their first full-length album, “Love Is Hell”, was released in April 1989. Fitzgerald’s impassioned, wordy, often bluntly personal vocals careened over what sounded like a mass of swirling guitars, though the band only had one guitarist. Swales’ chiming, effects-laden style of playing drew him comparisons to the guitarists of the Chameleons, Cocteau Twins, and A.R. Kane. KOD’s melodic yet abstract sound was a precursor of the shoegazing scene of the late 1980s/early 1990s.

Despite the promising start, the band faced a subdued reception from the mainstream music industry, generally due to their lyrical content. For instance, “Margaret’s Injection”, on the 1989 “Elephantine” EP, was a fantasy about killing then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Also, Fitzgerald was openly gay, and his lyrics were unapologetic, especially on tracks like “Prize” and “Within the Daze of Passion”. Even the more indie-focused television programs like Snub TV and Rapido failed to give them much coverage, although Snub TV played the video for the title track of their 1991 EP Drive that Fast

They were not at first offered a John Peel radio session; they eventually did get one after asking Peel personally, following a Glastonbury performance that he appreciated. The group signed with A&M Records in the US in 1990, and went into the studio with producer Hugh Jones. Their second album “Strange Free World” was released in February 1991, and spawned some moderately successful A-sides in “Drive that Fast” and “Quick as Rainbows”, both of which were very well received by college radio in the US.

The band went back into the studio in 1992, again with Jones at the helm, and their third album “The Death of Cool” came out in August that year; it was named in honour of the passing of Miles Davis, who had recently died, and whose influential album titled The Birth of the Cool had been released in 1950.  A&M balked at the band’s choice of “Breathing Fear” for the first single, due to its touchy subject matter so “Smiling” became the album’s initial single in the US. The band toured extensively, including a high-profile slot opening for their US labelmate Suzanne Vega.

Later in 1993, Kitchens of Distinction began work on their fourth album, co-producing it themselves with engineer Pete Bartlett. The album got rejected the twice, and eventually, both label and band agreed to bring in up-and-coming producer Pascal Gabriel to work on a couple of tracks. One of the label’s complaints about the album as the band originally submitted it was that it seemed to lack a potential hit single, so Gabriel produced a new song (“Come on Now”) that the band had written after the rest of the album had already been recorded; Gabriel also remixed two of the album’s other tracks (opening song “Sand on Fire” and first single “Now It’s Time to Say Goodbye”). The resulting album, “Cowboys and Aliens”, was released in the UK in October 1994, the changes did nothing to help the album’s dismal sales. When the album saw its US release in early 1995, it was largely ignored by the same alternative rock radio and media that had championed them just a few years earlier.

By the end of that year, both A&M and One Little Indian Records had dropped the band. Shortening their name to Kitchens O.D. and signing to the London-based indie label Fierce Panda Records, they issued a single, “Feel My Genie” in May 1996,[4] which was named ‘Single of the Week’ by Melody Maker, but the group officially disbanded that summer after a farewell gig at Kings Cross in London.

Albums:

Love Is Hell, Strange Free World, The Death of Cool, Cowboys and Aliens, Folly.

In February 1980: UK band Squeeze released their third studio album, ‘ArgyBargy’, on A&M Records; it contained two of the much-loved group’s all-time classics in “Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)” and “Another Nail in my Heart”; it would be their last album featuring founding keyboardist Jools Holland until Squeeze’s first reunion album, 1985’s ‘Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti’...

Written and recorded after the band’s successful sophomore release, Cool for Cats, the album’s lyrics were written by Chris Difford while living with his wife in New York City. The band reunited with Cool for Cats producer John Wood and, after Glenn Tilbrook composed music for Difford’s new lyrics, Following the Cool for Cats tour, Chris Difford married spent the summer of 1979 in the US with his wife. There he wrote over forty new lyrics, inspired by his new marriage and his time spent in Greenwich Village. He recalled, “I would sit in the flat all day while [wife] Cindy went to work and this fluidity of lyricism came gushing forth. The whole of the “Argybargy” album came in one fell swoop and lots more besides that never saw the light of day.

“Argybargy” has seen critical acclaim from music writers. Chris Jones of BBC Music called the album “their crowning achievement” and “a masterpiece of kitchen sink pop,” concluding, “If you’re going to own at least one Squeeze album, this has to be the one.  Argybargy doesn’t stay in one place; it’s restless and crackling with colours… with “Argybargy” it was clear that Squeeze were at the top of the pack among new wave popsters, and that their sardonic yet lively voice was unique among any pop group before or since.

The album has since been recognized as a classic of new wave and features multiple of the band’s most famous songs, including “Another Nail in My Heart,” “Pulling Mussels (from the Shell),” and “If I Didn’t Love You.” 

In February 1980: UK band Squeeze released their third studio album, ‘ArgyBargy’, on A&M Records; it contained two of the much-loved group’s all-time classics in “Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)” & “Another Nail in my Heart”; it would be their last album featuring founding keyboardist Jools Holland until Squeeze’s first reunion album, 1985’s ‘Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti’...

Written and recorded after the band’s successful sophomore release, Cool for Cats, the album’s lyrics were written by Chris Difford while living with his wife in New York City. The band reunited with Cool for Cats producer John Wood and, after Glenn Tilbrook composed music for Difford’s new lyrics,Following the Cool for Cats tour, Chris Difford married spent the summer of 1979 in the US with his wife. There he wrote over forty new lyrics, inspired by his new marriage and his time spent in Greenwich Village. He recalled, “I would sit in the flat all day while [wife] Cindy went to work and this fluidity of lyricism came gushing forth. The whole of the Argybargy album came in one fell swoop and lots more besides that never saw the light of day.

 Argybargy was released in February 1980. It spent 15 weeks on the UK Albums Chart,  Argybargy was the first Squeeze album to also chart in the US, Taken from their third studio album, ‘Arbybargy’ (A&M Records), UK band Squeeze released the single “Another Nail In My Heart” (backed with the non-album track “Pretty Thing”); early copies came in a picture sleeve & clear vinyl; it climbed to #17 in the UK but the group would once again strike out in the US (where the B-side title was changed to “Pretty One”)… 

Squeeze:

  • Chris Difford – rhythm guitar, vocals, lead vocal on “Here Comes That Feeling”, co-lead vocals on “If I Didn’t Love You” & “I Think I’m Go Go”
  • Glenn Tilbrook – lead guitar, keyboards, lead vocals
  • Jools Holland – keyboards, vocals, lead vocal on “Wrong Side of the Moon”
  • John Bentley – “Bass guitar”
  • Gilson Lav – drums
Unhalfbricking front

1969 was a roller-coaster year for Folk Rock band Fairport Convention. In January of that year they released their second album “What We Did On Our Holidays”, the first one to feature singer Sandy Denny. In May they hit rock bottom with a tragedy that killed two people including one of its members. Miraculously they recovered and released the album that defines Fairport at that time, “Unhalfbricking” was released in July of 1969, several weeks after the fatal accident on the M1 that killed drummer Martin Lamble and Jeannie Franklin (“Genie the Tailor”, who designed clothes for west-coast pop and rock elites), Richard Thompson’s recent girlfriend. The event questioned the band’s resiliency, and was followed by an amazing period of recovery that gave birth to Liege and Lief. Franklin was immortalized a month later when Jack Bruce dedicated his debut solo album Songs for a Tailor to her, and Elton John’s Tiny Dancer is likely about her as well with the telling lyrics “Blue Jean Baby, L. A. lady/Seamstress for the band”.

Unhalfbricking climbed to a respectable #12 in the UK album chart, its name penned by Sandy Denny who came up with the made-up word in a game of Ghost the band was playing while traveling in their beat up van to shows. Uncharacteristic for its time, the front cover features a single photograph with no indication of the band or album name. Two people, Sandy Denny’s parents, are standing in front of their house on Arthur Road, Wimbledon. In the background we can see the band lounging in the front yard. Clever positioning of the band members’ heads, one per rectangle in the fence. 

Fairport Convention 1969

Even more uncool is the back cover with a picture of the band engaged in the domestic task of having a meal. The whole package smells of looking back at days of yore, keeping a distance from current trends. A&M Records, who distributed the band’s albums in the US, found the album cover’s concept abnormal and instead decided in a curious creative burst that the average American consumer’s palate might appreciate a photo of three dancing circus elephants with a girl dancing (balancing?) on top. Underestimating the American record buyer’s tolerance for the unknown, the band and album titles were slapped on the US album cover.

The band was going through a Bob Dylan phase at the time, resulting with three covers of his songs on the album. Dylan’s version of Million Dollar Bash, later to appear on the Basement Tapes album but at that point not yet released, The song came to the band through producer Joe Boyd’s song publishing company which had access to Dylan’s new recorded materials. The great mandolin accompaniment is courtesy of Dave Swarbrick, who made a number of excellent recordings with Martin Carthy between 1965 and 1968, and was called by Joe Boyd to guest on a number of songs on “Unhalfbricking”.

Another Dylan cover was for a relatively unknown song, If You Gotta Go, Go Now. Dylan had recorded it in 1965 for his Bringing It All Back Home album but decided not to include it in the album, instead releasing it as a single in the Netherlands in 1967. Manfred Mann covered the song soon after Dylan recorded it in 1965. Fairport Convention gave it an interesting twist by singing it in French, translated to Si Tu Dois Partir.

Fairport Convention was playing a gig at the Middle Earth and thought it would be amusing to do Dylan’s song in French Cajun style, so the band called for volunteers from the audience to help with the translation. Richard Thompson: “About three people turned up, so it was really written by committee, and consequently ended up not very Cajun, French or Dylan.” The studio version is a better attempt at the Cajun style, featuring Dave Swarbrick on fiddle, Richard Thompson on accordion and Trevor Lucas, who later formed Fotheringay with Denny, on triangle. The band was quite inventive when it came to producing interesting sounds in the studio. Joe Boyd, in his book White Bicycles: Making Music in the 1960s recalls: “Martin created the Cajun washboard sound for ‘Si Tu Dois Partir’ by stacking some plastic Eames chairs and running his drumsticks along them. The percussion break was supposed to feature an empty milk bottle lying on the topmost chair, but when the time came it fell and smashed on the floor. I signalled frantically to keep playing. The crash of broken glass was absolutely in time and worked perfectly, a good omen for the session.” The song was released as a single, reaching the UK singles chart, and got the band its first appearance at Top of the Pops on August 14th, 1969.

The B-side on the single Si Tu Dois Partir went unnoticed at the time but over the years became one of Richard Thompson’s favourite performance songs. It is also my favourite tune on the album, achingly sang by Sandy Denny. It is one of the first in Thompson’s career-long strike of beautiful melancholic songs, the album opener “Genesis Hall”. Thompson on the topic of the song: “Genesis Hall was the name of a building in London that was occupied by squatters. The police went in and were far too brutal in evicting the people. My father was a policeman at the time, and although he was not involved in this operation, I could see the situation from both the squatters’ and police’s points of view. This was conflicting for me, and I tried to express that.”
The August 1969 issue of the underground newspaper International Times mentions an incident that took place in the Drury Lane Bell Hotel involving police and squatters. It happened in March of that year, when Fairport Convention was in the process of recording “Unhalfbricking”:

Thompson covers the song from time to time on his live shows, giving it a fantastic acoustic version. A great example is from the first episode of the BBC Songwriter’s Circle series from 2010.
Several reasons why this song moves me: The lyrics, again so mature for a 20 year old who has not written too many songs up to that point. The sad yet somewhat detached mood in which Sandy Denny sings them. The part where the whole band is soaring with her when they sing “Oh, oh, helpless and slow”. The dual guitar work by Richard Thompson and Simon Nicol. Martin Lamble’s drumming, sadly not discussed too often, demonstrating his ability to play very interesting patterns behind the melody as if he was playing a melodic instrument. Only a month after the band finished recording the album Lamble died in that car crash. The band went through a rough period of mourning and healing and came out on the other end with the album that defines British folk rock. 

The third of the Dylan cover’s is Percy’s Song, recorded by Dylan in 1963 for his third album The Times They Are a-Changin‘. The song did not make it into the album and was released some twenty years later on the Biograph collection. The song lyrics are a futile plea to a judge to reconsider a harsh sentence given to a driver in a fatal car accident. Sandy Denny sings a beautiful harmony with Ian Matthews who had left the group after their previous album, and her interpretation is the best I know for this lesser known Dylan tune. Guitar player Simon Nicol said this of Denny’s vocal on the song: “It needs a voice like Sandy’s to get the shades of emotion across, from moodiness to compassion to outright fury. There’s not many singers can do that.”

One song on Unhalfbricking points to the direction the band would take on their next album. A Sailor’s Life is a traditional song brought to the band by Sandy Denny. The song, indexed as Roud 237 in the English Folk Dance and Song Society, was previously covered by Judy Collins on her album A Maid of Constant Sorrow in 1961 and by Martin Carthy on his second album from 1966.

Fairport Convention’s version is a milestone in British folk rock, maybe the first time a serious rock interpretation was given to an old ballad. Sheila Chandra, who was inspired by Sandy Denny’s delivery of the song and later covered it herself, found similarities to Indian music in Fairport Convention’s version: “The track is actually a microcosm of 2,000 years of Indian music – it goes from Vedic chanting on two or three notes right through to full improvisations on a fixed note scale. All in one take. The band have realized that all folk music is based upon a drone, and shares a common root. For instance, the way the violin comes in with an insistent repeat of the drone note is reminiscent of the Indian wind instrument the Shenai, and its distant relative the shawm in Irish music. It all connects.” That violin is played by Dave Swarbrick, his finest contribution to this album.

John Wood, who was the principal sound engineer in the studio, recalls the recording of the song: “Richard and Sandy came in and said ‘we really think we can only do this once’. They already got Dave Swarbrick in to play on it. We put Sandy in a vocal booth (she had an awful cold that day too) and everybody else in a big semicircle. When you want to cut that sort of track, its not easy for people to work if its all sectioned off, so it was very open and that was it, one take, done. No overdubs.” Dave Swarbrick was given no specific instructions as to what to play on the song other than to just come in when the singing stops. He had fond memories from the session as well: “Sandy had a great band to soar over and a great bunch of musicians who were sympathetic. Richard and Sandy worked closely together. Richard was awesome, of course. That should be his middle name. But the band was cohesive and so special, the chemistry worked and the line-up was sensational.”

I have two favourite songs on this album, and one of them is Sandy Denny’s “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?” Denny wrote the song early in her career with the original title The Ballad Of Time. She was not yet 20 years of age when she wrote the mature lyrics about the passage of time. She sang it during her short stint with the Strawbs in 1967. Judy Collins gave the song an interpretation in 1968 on her album of the same name and as a B-side on her single Both Sides Now.
The song became one of Denny’s most enduring and beloved songs, and in 2007 it was voted by BBC Radio 2 listeners as their favourite folk rock track of all time. It was the last song to be recorded for Unhalfbricking, and the last drummer Martin Lamble would ever record with the band.

The album was recorded in the early months of 1969 at Sound Techniques and Olympic Studios in London. Sound Techniques was a go-to studio for many great psychedelic, rock and folk British acts of the time, including Nick Drake (Five Leaves Left, Bryter Layter), Incredible String Band (The 5000 Spirits Or The Layers Of The Onion), Jethro Tull (This Was), John Martyn (Solid Air), Pentangle (Cruel Sister), Pink Floyd (Arnold Layne), Steeleye Span (Parcel Of Rogues) and Fairport alumni Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny. John Wood assembled a roster of first-class musicians who acted as the house band for a great variety of recording sessions. Not surprisingly, many of them were associated with Fairport Convention, including Dave Mattacks and Gerry Conway on drums, Danny Thompson, Dave Pegg and Pat Donaldson on bass, Richard Thompson, Jerry Donahue and Simon Nicol on guitars.

Unhalfbricking back

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Intervention Records is thrilled to announce The Flying Burrito Bros. classic 1970 sophomore effort Burrito Deluxe on 180-gram vinyl.

Burrito Deluxe is the second and final hot Burrito made while the band was still led by former Byrds member Gram Parsons. The Flying Burrito Bros. are widely viewed as the inventors of country rock and are one of the most influential bands of all time. “Burrito Deluxe” is another classic full of great tunes written and sung by Parsons and Chris Hillman.

The original LP art is restored by IR’s Tom Vadakan and the old-style, “tip-on, brown-in” LP jacket is printed by Stoughton and features super deluxe red foil accents on the front cover. For years now, we’ve touted Intervention Records’ superlative work in the vinyl reissue front.  The team’s attention to detail, impeccable artwork, and stellar sonics across genres have given them a reputation in the reissue world as one of the best.  Their established quality in the LP world happily extends to the digital realm, as well.

Is this the album that made country cool? Former Byrds Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman picked up where they left off with Sweetheart of the Rodeo with this stunning masterpiece of a debut album by The Flying Burrito Bros. While Parsons had already pushed rock in a country direction during his brief stint with The Byrds and The International Submarine Band, The Gilded Palace of Sin is why the Burritos are widely viewed as the inventors of country rock. Indeed with this album, Hillman and Parsons carved a substantial place in music history as one of the most influential albums and bands of all time.

The Gilded Palace of Sin was 100% Analog Mastered by Kevin Gray at CoHEARent Audio from the best source available- a phenomenal sounding 1/2″ safety copy of the original stereo master tapes. All of the top-end energy and “snap” of the original A&M LP is preserved, while the bass foundation is fully restored to make this new Intervention reissue the definitive listening experience for this classic LP! , For their sophomore album, the band’s original songs were joined by a country classic (“Image of Me,” popularized by Conway Twitty), a gospel standard (“Farther Along”), and tunes by Dylan (“If You Gotta Go”) and the Stones (the first recording of “Wild Horses”). “Burrito Deluxe” featured Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman, “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow, Bernie Leadon, and Michael Clarke plus guests including Leon Russell (tickling the ivories on Leadon and Parsons’ “Man in the Fog” and the Glimmer Twins’ “Wild Horses”).  It would prove Parsons’ final album with the group.

Humble Pie’s “Up Our Sleeve: Official Bootleg Box Set Vol 3” is latest recorded testament to what this band did best; playing bluesy, gutsy, soulful hard rock, live on stage. Drawn from a variety of audience recordings that have previously only been available as “under the counter” pirate releases, this is an honest and raw tribute to a classic and much missed super-group on the 1970s, released in conjunction with Pie founder member and drummer, Jerry Shirley.

Originally emerging from the remnants of 1960s beat heroes The Small Faces, Humble Pie formed in 1969 when mercurial guitarist and vocalist Steve Marriott joined forces with The Herd’s Peter Frampton, joined by drummer Jerry Shirley and bassist Greg Ridley. After two albums for Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate label, Humble Pie switched to A&M records, and began their ascent to conquering the theatres and then arenas of North America, culminating in 1972’s double live “Performance: Rockin’ The Filmore”.

Peter Frampton left shortly after to pursue a successful solo career, replaced by Clem Clempson. It was this line-up that is captured across these 5 discs. .Spread across CDs 1 & 2, The Pie were promoting their latest studio record “Smokin'” when they hit Gaelic Park, in Riverdale, NY on 22nd August 1972, from which ‘Hot ‘N’ Nasty’, ‘I Wonder’ and their cover of Eddie Cochran’s ‘C’mon Everybody’ were taken.

Also featured are ‘Hallelujah (I Love Her So)’, ‘I Don’t Need No Doctor’, ‘Four Day Creep’ and ‘Rollin’ Stone’ from the previous year’s “Performance: Rockin’ The Filmore”. .Recorded three days later, CD 3 features a similar set, as well as their take on the Stones ‘Honky Tonk Women’ plus ‘Up Our Sleeve’, both of which would feature on 1973’s “Eat It”. .By the time they hit Boston’s Music Hall on 10th April 1973 featured on CD 4, Humble Pie had been joined by the Blackberries, Venetta Fields, Clydie King & Billie Barnum. Promoting the new double LP “Eat It”, the set includes band original ‘Up Our Sleeve’.

Humble Pie

One of the UK’s most charismatic and distinctive frontmen was taken from us when Steve Marriott, of the Small Faces and Humble Pie, died in a house fire on 20th April 1991. He was a cruelly young 44 years of age.

Thankfully, Steve’s achievements as a true figurehead of pop and rock music, especially in the 1960s and ’70s, are now widely acknowledged. His talents have been celebrated of late in the highly recommended musical All Or Nothing — The Mod Musicalwhich brings the Small Faces’ story vividly to life and continues to play to massive response.

Marriott, from Manor Park in the East of London, was a born performer. He started his first band at the age of 12 and starred on the West End stage in Lionel Bart’s hit production of Oliver! at just 13.

His dreams came true when the Small Faces, formed in 1965, made it big and enjoyed several years of hit singles and increasingly influential and experimental albums. Marriott’s wanderlust and disillusionment with the business of music led him to leave the band and form Humble Pie. There, he developed a creative partnership with a new group of like-minded players, including Peter Frampton. “It was the best band you could ever be in as far as I was concerned,” said Frampton, “because you’ve got my idol there.

Formed by Steve Marriott in 1969 after the break-up of Small FacesHumble Pie epitomised the British rock supergroups emerging at the turn of the decade. With the charismatic Marriott taking on frontman duties, he enlisted Peter Frampton (then of The Herd) on guitar, Spooky Tooth’s Greg Ridley on bass and a teenage Jerry Shirley on drums. The group released two beloved albums on Small Faces’ former label, Immediate, before making a switch to A&M in 1970 and working up a harder, blues-rock sound that would earn acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic.

The group’s self-titled effort, released in summer 1970, solidified their new direction and set Humble Pie up for a run of albums that would make an indelible mark on the blues-rock scene, among them Rock On, Smokin’ and the classic live double-album, Performance Rockin’ The Fillmore, recorded at New York’s iconic Fillmore East, before the group temporarily disbanded in 1975. Steve Marriott fronted Humble Pie from 1969 to 1975, and briefly in a reunited version in the early 1980s. He also made some notable albums in his own name, including the 1976 solo debut Marriott1990’s Marriott & Band included versions of his treasured Small Faces songs ‘All Or Nothing’ and ‘What’cha Gonna Do About It.’

Shortly before the end of his life, Marriott was interviewed and he reflected with quiet satisfaction on his career. “I was seduced at 18,” he said, “and it was quite good but it paled very quickly. I realised it had nothing to do with music and everything to do with the shape of your bum…what’s been has gone, and I’m very proud of it.

“I’ve got what I wanted, which is just enough money to live on, in no great style but a nice way, and to have some respect from other musicians and play the pubs and clubs, where the music’s still real.

Humble Pie A&M Years Vinyl Box Set

Steve Marriott and Greg Ridley are with us no more, but with the full input of both Frampton and ShirleyThe A&M Vinyl Box Set 1970-1975 commemorates their great work. Collecting all seven of the group’s A&M albums across nine slabs of 180g vinyl, it presents this part of the group’s legacy in better-than-ever audio

“Eat It, in particular, had sound problems originally,” says Jerry Shirley, who adds that they have “now been eradicated once and for all, so that our fans, old and new, can hear it as was it was intended to be”. Much love and care has been put into assembling the package too, with the albums coming in a hardback slipcase and replica artwork – including the die-cut sleeve that originally housed Thunderbox.

Jerry and I worked together with A&M for some time to get this released,” Peter Frampton notes, adding, “We pay tribute to our two lost brothers, Steve and Greg, and hope you enjoy this as much as we did putting it all together.

Live At Winterland

First and foremost, to have this album on vinyl – is incredible! because as you’ll clearly hear – this baby rocks! Humble Pie had to rock because they followed a blazing performance by Slade. From a concert on May 6th, 1973 at San Francisco’s Winterland Theatre. Opening this show was a little known band then named Steely Dan. Marriott is on fire from the fist note to the last.
there is more material from this show, maybe so. Most gigs from this time period, however, did not run too much over an hour’s worth of material, especially, when three or more bands shared the bill. My only gripe with this package is the packaging, itself! Open the gate fold & do we get a concert photo of the band at Winterland? No! A generic photo, instead. Winterland has some historic significance that should have been highlighted with some photos of that gig or at least the marquee.

And, why is the included poster that of a gig in Europe? Why not a replica of the hand bill that Bill Graham had reproduced of the gig at Winterland? Cleopatra Records gets an A+ for releasing this on vinyl. The sound is fantastic! Cleopatra Records gets a D for liner notes. Do your homework, guys. This is historical stuff and deserves the full package and better information.

This live recording of Humble Pie was made at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom in May of 1973, during what many consider to be the band’s creative peak. This Winterland show being only the fifth show recorded for the then brand-newly syndicated King Biscuit Flower Hour radio concert series, features a blistering set of material. From “I Don’t Need No Doctor” to the infectious Top 10 hit “Hot ‘N Nasty” this recording features all the essential music from the Humble Pie catalogue. And since the band built their reputation on legendary live shows, is arguably better than anything the band ever did in the recording studio.

Humble Pie first came together on New Year’s Eve, 1968/69. Marriott had just played a disastrous gig with The Small Faces, whose opening act, oddly enough, was Ridley’s Spooky Tooth. Frampton had already left The Herd and was forming a new band with Shirley, a child prodigy drummer, who was only 16 at the time. Marriott called Shirley after the show and asked if he and Ridley could join the new band he and Frampton were assembling. According to Shirley, he couldn’t believe a singer as acclaimed as Steve Marriott was even interested, and was “thrilled” at the prospect of what the new band could achieve.

The band made its debut in April of 1969, but almost collapsed at the onset. Despite the media hoopla surrounding their supergroup status and a slew of critical raves, Humble Pie’s early albums (As Safe as Yesterday Is and Town and Country – both on Oldham’s Immediate label) were not commercial hits. Marriott and Frampton couldn’t decide if the band should move in an acoustic or electric direction, a dilemma that made the initial records hard to market. The band also had to hit the road before they really had time to work out their live show, and early tours were mostly lackluster as a result. Then, in 1970, the tides began to turn.

The band hired Dee Anthony as its manager, who promptly signed them to A&M Records. The band recorded Humble Pie and Rock On in 1970 and ’71, respectively. Both albums forged the band into a solid – and very electric – blues/rock machine. The critics got behind the band en masse, and records began selling in large numbers. By the time the band had recorded and released Rockin’ The Fillmore in 1971, the word had spread: Humble Pie was one of the hottest live band since the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Just then, Frampton decided he didn’t feel comfortable in the band’s hard rockin’ blues direction and left to pursue a solo career. While the most memorable material from Rockin’ The Fillmore (“I Don’t Need No Doctor,” “4 Day Creep” and the soulful remake of Ray Charles’ “Hallelujah I Love Her So”) also appear on this LP, but the versions differ dramatically, as Frampton had since been replaced by Dave “Clem” Clempson.

Though some in the rock press predicted the band’s demise upon Frampton’s departure, the opposite seemed to happen. Clempson revitalized the band, and helped take it in an even harder direction. When the band returned in 1972 with Smokin’, they had become a well-oiled rock ‘n’ roll dynamo. Five of the album’s tracks – “Hot ‘N Nasty,” “30 Days In The Hole,” “Road Runner,” “You’re So Good For Me” and Eddie Cochran’s classic “C’mon Everybody” – soon became radio staples. Smokin’ became a multi-platinum Top 10 smash, and remains the best selling album of the band’s career.

This concert was recorded while the band was promoting Eat It!, a double LP that featured three sides of studio songs and one side of live material. Though Eat It! went to the Top 15, and Humble Pie had firmly established themselves as a powerful live act, the band’s powers (and their popularity) seemed to gradually decline following this tour. The band returned in 1974 with Thunderbox, but the constant focus by the media and the fans on Steve Marriott began taking its toll within the group. In 1975, Humble Pie reunited in the studio with ex-manager Andrew Oldham, and recordedStreet Rats, a quirky collection of tracks, including three Beatles covers. The band embarked on a “Farewell” tour, and called it a day.

Though Humble Pie never quite reached the commercial status of Led Zeppelin or Eric Clapton, they did leave an indelible mark on the contemporary rock music. The passion of Marriott’s blue-eyed soul, the powerful blast of the band’s clever rhythm section, compounded by the skillful guitar work of Frampton (and later, Clem Clempson), will forever keep Humble Pie near the head of the blues/rock class of legends.

Band

  • Steve Marriott – Guitar, vocals.
  • Clem Clempson – Guitar, backing vocals.
  • Greg Ridley – Bass guitar, vocals
  • Jerry Shirley – Drums.

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Alice Mary is classically trained, techno-loving Jimi Hendrix fan who has somehow become a pop musician. Taking inspiration from her varied interests she has created an intriguing debut EP in I Am Here. Like many musicians Alice is an introvert off-stage, but on-stage she commands attention with stark lyrics, impressive guitar playing and memorable, haunting melodies.

Alice Mary began recording music in her bedroom when she was 14 years old. Back then she used a four-track tape recorder, layering guitar parts and quietly singing over the top, hoping no one could hear her voice. But after years of playing guitar for other bands and geeking out making electronic music in her bedroom, she decided to bring her artistic voice to the fore and start her own solo project.

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I Am Here was originally intended to be a set of instrumentals, born from experimenting with recordings of a broken autoharp. Influenced by lyricists like Feist and Conor Oberst, Alice Mary’s songs refuse to shy away from unflattering truths about herself. She explores the confusing feeling of bouncing between extremes: love and hate, passion and apathy, confusion and clarity. Her lyrics lay everything bare; with brevity and a sense of humour she owns up to the selfish, petty and unattractive thoughts most of us are too embarrassed to bring up.

The resulting EP is a confident, sumptuous pop record. Alice Mary’s voice will finally come out of the bedroom studio to take centre stage. “Loving Game” is taken from Alice Mary’s debut EP I Am Here which was released via AM Records and can be heard below.

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also check out the acoustic version available on Bandcamp,

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All songs written, performed, mixed and mastered by Alice Emerson

Early seventies rock ‘super group’ Humble Pie see new vinyl editions of all their A&M released albums collected in the appropriately named The A&M Vinyl Box Set 1970-1975.

The band were formed by Steve Marriott and Peter Frampton in 1969 and also featured former Spooky Tooth bassist Greg Ridley and Jerry Shirley on drums.

This new 9LP box set has been put together in conjunction with Jerry Shirley and Peter Frampton and features remastered versions of Humble Pie (1970), Rock On (1971), Performance Rockin’ The Fillmore (1971), Smokin’ (1972), Eat It (1973), Thunderbox (1974) and Street Rats (1975).

Shirley makes reference to the sound quality for this new box set: “At last we have the extreme privilege, thanks to the hard work of the restoration engineers at Universal, to hear all of our catalogue from A&M in it’s finest form, on vinyl. “Eat It” in particular, had sound problems originally that have now been eradicated once and for all, so that all our fans, old and new, can hear it as it was intended to be, a wonderful slice of Humble Pie Rock & Roll”.

Frampton adds We pay tribute to our two lost brothers, Steve and Greg and hope you enjoy this as much as we did putting it all together.”

The records are pressed on 180g vinyl and feature “replica artwork” which means respecting original die-cut sleeves and inners. The A&M Vinyl Box Set will be released on 2nd June 2017.